Runner’s high? Doesn’t running have enough benefits without having to be an intoxicant?
Yes, runner’s high is back on the popular radar, thanks to a New York Times story touting the latest German research on the subject—which our own Nora of Complete Running had already scooped them on by eight days, so why are you wasting your time on that Times rag, I ask you?
The research was published in Cerebral Cortex—dang, I let my subscription run out, and I so enjoyed the centerfolds.
The authors inform us that “statistical parametric mapping (SPM2) was used for voxelwise analyses to determine relative changes in ligand binding after running and correlations of opioid binding with euphoria ratings.”
Come to think of it, my ligands have been binding lately, voxelwise.
One of the problems with the study of runner’s high is its definition. Certainly we all have had runs where we feel really, really good. Some may even feel euphoric. But, as anyone who has ever experienced or watched the 24th mile of a marathon can attest, runners can also become irrational and angry. Who writes about runner’s madness? (I smell a government research grant!)
I have never experienced a runner’s high. I have experienced a massive sugar and caffeine high while running, thanks to an overindulgent pre-race breakfast. I ran a huge PR in the half-marathon that day, with insane negative splits. Never could re-create it, though.
In any event, let’s not lay excessive pressure on people to feel euphoric while running. It’s well established you’ll feel great once you’re finished running, and that’s good enough for me.
Besides, everyone knows the real secret to runner’s high is the bananas.